We usually put our children in time-outs when they do something wrong. Sometimes, some parents even ask them to “think” about what they did wrong while in their time-outs.
Today, I realized that sometimes, WE need the time-outs!
After a long tiring day, I handed my daughter her homework, hoping she’d finish some of it today. I guess I handed her my monster button instead.
See, my daughter has this thing that ignites my anger during homework time. She pretends—and I literally mean it when I say pretends—not to know the answers.
At some point, I thought my daughter had some sort of learning disability, but I doubted it because after several tries, she ends up getting the answer.
However, my doubts were put to rest when I attended the parents meeting at her school, and both her literacy and numeracy teachers were puzzled by my concerns. Contrary to my assumptions, they were telling me how smart and bright Talia is. How independent she is, with a strong eagerness to always learn. One teacher explained how Talia often refuses help from her teachers because she prefers to do it herself. At that moment I was overcome with utter pride, but then I was hit with a question. Why is she the total opposite at home?
I tried to come up with different explanations; anything and everything! From her just wanting my attention, to her needing me around and supporting her, to her simply not remembering the solutions at times.
However, when it comes to the actual moment during homework time, I forget all these justifications.
With my kids, and all the rough moments we experience, I find myself able to manage it at times and keep up with most of the parenting techniques like keeping calm, not yelling and so on.
When it comes to homework though, NOTHING keeps me together.
I lose it and I forget all of those parenting methods. One incident and I go nuts!
It’s sad, I know, and I hate the fact that 90% of the times we do homework it ends up in tragedy.
Today Talia, my almost five-year-old, had to count and write the numbers in digits. The number ‘13’ was written and she had to write ‘14’ next but she wrote the ‘4’ before the ‘1’.
I explained calmly to her that from 11 – 19, the ‘1’ always comes before the other number.
Then I explained to her, “I specifically said that and so ‘14’ is ‘1’ then ‘4’ and ‘15’ is ‘1’ and ‘5’ okay? COME ON NOW! REWRITE 14 CORRECTLY!”
So next was ‘15’ and I say (confident enough that she will get it right), “Okay, great, so how do you write ‘15’?
She says, “Five then one,”
and that’s when the monster button was hit.
I take her to bed, she is flooded with tears, and I am flooded with anger.
I walk away and go into MY time-out!
A time-out where I cry, think, regret, think again and again and again and again, and then breathe. A time-out that every mother needs when she loses it.
Our role as moms is tough, and our journey each day is comprised of so many different actions from our children that we manage amazingly. But at the end of the day, we are humans, and at times, we burst.
Let’s try to burst less. Let’s try to keep it tight most of the time.
However, if we get to the point where we can’t, let’s put ourselves on a time-out! Let’s even tell our kids, “I need a five minutes break,”, or just walk away when u know you need to.
Go breathe. Take your time and calm down because you know that by the time they fall asleep, you will regret allowing them to sleep upset.
That’s my case, and I am sure it’s the case of all other moms too.
There is no doubt that after you have calmed down, you will remember that they are only kids—young, helpless, creatures. And of course, you don’t hold any grudges for them, even if their reaction was saying, “I don’t love you mama!”
First of all, this is because that’s a normal reaction from them to your anger.
Second, you know they don’t mean it. You know you are all they have in the world.
Be there for them.
Hold them tight and apologize for your overreaction. It’s an amazing thing when kids see their parents apologize. It teaches them that it’s okay to say sorry no matter how old you are. If you are wrong, you should apologize.
And the best part of it all? They are too pure and innocent. They will forget what you have done to them in seconds, especially after a tight hug. That’s all the love they need from you.
So let’s promise ourselves, starting from now, not to ever put our kids to bed in an upset mood.
Remember, when your angry button is on, put yourself on a time-out!